Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We Did It!

I can't believe I did it! To think about where I started on March 1st to now, it's a huge difference! I was terrified to start this challenge, mainly because of what other people would think and because I didn't want to fail. I know, this is RIDICULOUS because I am an adult and shouldn't be bothered by these thoughts!

Now that it's March 31st, I've realized it doesn't matter what other people think because we are all in the same boat. There are a lot of slicers out there that were just as nervous as me and some not brave enough to take on the challenge.

I also know, I didn't fail. Was I absolutely perfect, NO! Have I learned from the experience, YES! Will I do better next time,  YES! (I should post this in my classroom)

I really don't even like the term "fail". It sounds so negative. When in reality, it's a positive. If it wasn't for failure we wouldn't learn and we wouldn't improve. It's an essential part of life and I wish I wasn't so afraid of it. This is a lesson I want my own kids and my school kids to understand as well!

Because of this challenge I feel like I am better connected to my students and I better understand them as writers. For the last 31 days I was a student and now I get it more than I have in years past.

Thank you Tenille for encouraging me to "slice" and thank you to all of the comment-ers, you have really encouraged me!!

Monday, March 30, 2015

I Feel Proud!

Today I shared the SOL challenge with my 3rd graders. I told them how it works and showed them a couple of my post. I explained that I have to go through the whole writing process every day, edit, revise, add details, and so on. I also told them how scary it was for me to start writing and I was worried about what others might think.

I think they thought it was cool! They loved that I wrote about them. They said things like, "I like your opening, it really made me want to keep reading" and "You are brave just like Desperaux(our current read aloud)."

It was fun to share with them. I want my kids to know that I am not only a reader but also a writer, just like I want them to be!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Girl Time!

After my husband returned from a 2 week work trip he surprised me with a girls night. He booked a hotel and had arranged for my two friends to join. I have been friends with these two girls for OVER 20 YEARS! We all have babies under the age of 1(9, 10, and 11 months) and we were in much need of some girl time. We enjoyed pedicures, dinner, and great conversation. It was an unexpected and very appreciated surprise.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Snaggle Tooth!


Our house was visited by the Tooth Fairy for the first time last night!! Tyler lost his first tooth. During dinner he told me it was loose. I didn't believe him because I didn't think there was any way he could already have a loose toooth. I even text a kinder teacher friend and asked if that was normal. She assured me it was! Then, after bed time stories with daddy they were in bed and Tyler just pulled it out! 

I thought for sure the idea of pulling a tooth out of his mouth would freak him out, but it didn't. He was SO excited.  What a fun unexpected milestone!


Friday, March 27, 2015

BIG Slice Of My Life!!!

Daddy is home. It's been 12 LONG days. We are all so happy to have him home! He is the slice that makes my pie complete! 






Thursday, March 26, 2015

TWITTER!

I just finished another Twitter chat tonight and it made me love Twitter even more. I have really learned so much from Twitter over the last few years. It's a great way to connect with other educator, share ideas, and LEARN!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Used to HATE, "I Don't Know What to Write About!"

I don't feel like I have ever understood my students as writers more than I do now. Because of SOL I feel like my students,  who are faced with the task of writing every single day. It makes me understand the oh so frustrating statement, "I don't know what to write about." There have been days during SOL that I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT! I am writing for 31 days and I expect my kids to write for 187 days. Of course there will be days they don't know what to write about!

There are plenty of days when I have given a prompt or we are writing about specific topics and each child has a "topics" lists in their journal. These things help. 

What are other ways to motivate kids to write when they are stuck and don't know what to write about??

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teacher Friends

Teacher friends are the BEST. They truly get it and they understand.

Today I spent the day writing LA curriculum. The best part is I get to do this with the most wonderful group of girls in the world. I truly learn so much from spending the day with them. We engage in powerful conversation that really makes me think. I always leave them knowing that I am a better teacher because I have them in my life.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mondays!

Mondays often get the vote for worst day of the week and today this theory held true. The Monday following Spring Break. It was a tough Monday.

We are so quick to fall out of our routine but it is so hard to get back into routine. My personal kids struggled this morning. The oldest didn't want to get out of bed and the baby woke up with crusty eyes and a snotty nose. This was also her first day in her new class at school. This made me extra sad and I cried the whole way to school. (Luckily it's only about 2 miles).

Of course I put on my happy face when that 7:35 bell rang and I greeted 22 excited 3rd graders. Let me tell you their excitement lasted ALL day. They were wound up!

I made it through the day. It  can only get better from here!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

YA

I saw Insurgent, the movie, tonight and it made me ponder my love for YA.

According to the oh so reliable source Wikipedia, Young Adult books are written for a specific audience of readers.....

Young-adult fiction or young adult literature, often termed as YA,[1] is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the category as literature traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years to the age of twenty-five

At the ripe age of 29, I do not fit into the target audience for YA books. HOWEVER, I must admit YA might be my favorite. As a child, I was not a reader. I loved to hear my teachers read aloud to me but I did not read on my own. Into middle/high school I enjoyed reading even less. All I remember is being forced to read books that I was not interested it at all. Any hope of becoming a reader was crushed because of this. Even through college, I read whatever I needed to get by for my classes. I didn't read for pleasure. 

In 2008, at the age of 23, one of my dear friends wanted me to read Twilight so I could then go see the movie with her. I could not have been more disgusted by the thought of vampires and ware wolfs. I was not interested at all but finally after a few days of pestering I gave in. She loaned me the books and I had the whole series finished in about 2 weeks. As embarrassing as it is to think about, Edward and Bella made me a reader. I was captivated by their story and since then many more stories along the way. When I think about my reading history YA comes to mind...

Twilight Series
Hunger Games Series
The Fault In Our Stars
The Spectacular Now
Looking for Alaska
The Night Circus 
Divergent Series

And the list goes on. ALL YA! (If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of books turned into movies)

It makes me sad to think I didn't truly become a reader until the age of 23. I think about all of the fun and learning I have missed out on in my younger days. It also makes the realize the importance of helping my 3rd graders have a desire to read for pleasure. I want to be able to get them hooked now so they don't have to miss out on years of reading like me. 

So, thank you YA authors. Keep doing what you are doing! 



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Husbands!

I have written about my daddy and my mother, so why not keep it in the family and tell you a little about my husband. We have been married for almost 8 years and I still think he is wonderful!! Not only is he a wonderful husband he is a exceptional father to our two children. I sometimes think husbands get a bad reputation. You know, "All they do is watch football, drink beer, and fart. And they definitely don't understand anything about being a woman." We've all heard it and some of us are even guilty of saying theses words. Mine does do all of these things BUT he also does laundry, bath time, bed time stories, and he builds Legos(Just to name a few).

He sometimes has to travel for work. Typically he's gone 3-4 days, about once a month. This time he is traveling for TWO weeks. He's never been away from the kids for this long. We are in the middle of his travels and boy has life been more difficult. I am so used to having a second set of hands so I have been facing a hard reality these last few days. I miss him!

I know I can't complain about two weeks when our world is full of single mothers who experience this daily and military families that are away from their spouses for months at a time. I definitely have a new appreciation for families that experience this with worse circumstances than me.



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mothers!

Today I spent the day with my momma! I am fortunate to have a wonderful mother. Not only that, my mom is fortunate to have a wonderful mother and my mom's mom was fortunate enough to have a wonderful mother as well. My grandmother is in her 70's and I had my Great Grandmother until I was 19. That means all of my life I have been surround by women who are an excellent example of what a mother should be.

As I have gotten older and have become a mother I understand my mother better. Her lectures and words of wisdom mean something to me now, even though I didn't quite understand them when I was a teenager. I often thought she had no idea what she was talking about or she just didn't understand. Now, she is the first person I can when I need advice. Now, I get it!

I think no matter how old we are we have a tendency to take our mothers for granted. At least, I know I do. It's not that I'm meaning to, I think it's just that my mom has ALWAYS gone out of her way to provide for me and that hasn't changed (even though I am 29, married, and a mother of 2). I really don't even realize I take her for granted until I reflect on some of our times together.

I know not everyone is this fortunate. I have friends who do not have any relationship with their mom or kids at school that don't even know who their mom is. I can't even imagine what that would be like. I think people who have this kind of relationship with their mothers are EXCEPTIONAL in their own ways. They may be stronger and more independent than me. They learn so find other ways to solve their problems and learn to build strong relationships with friends and family. 

I hope that I can so selflessly live up to my Mom. I want my kids to know I love them and would do anything for them.


Baseball Season!

It's here and in full effect! I'm not talking about Texas Rangers Spring training either. I'm talking 6U Dodgers baseball.....
Tyler-Back left, holding the baseball


It's such a fun time of year and it makes my all giddy inside watching Tyler play! I think they are absolutely precious. More that the cuteness, I think team activities and an essential life skill and I'm happy Tyler is learning about this early in life.


Tonight little sister made her first practice of the year. She is her brother's #1 fan!
That's brother running bases in the background!


GO DODGERS! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Break Day 3-Aquarium Fun

We left at 10AM and made it home at 5:30PM. It was a LONG but FUN day at the aquarium. Sea life fascinates me and the kids had a great time. Now, time for bed...I'm worn out!!





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Day With Tyler

Today I spent the day with Tyler, my oldest who has just recently turned 5. We went to the gym, ate pizza(which totally defeats the gym), and ran some errands. For a little over 4 years he was the only child until little sister came along last June. Now that our time is split between two children I don't get to spend the quality time with him that I used to. I assume this is natural and happens with most families when they have more than one child. Tyler doesn't complain and is an AMAZING big brother. Most of our time spent together is in the evenings and on the weekends when all 4 of us are together at home. When we can, we try to do things with just Tyler. Today was one of those days and it was so special. Although he's only 5, he really is grown up. I don't think I really realize this until I have moments like today. The conversation we have blows my mind. I sometimes feel like I am talking to an adult opposed to a 5 year old. He has a curious mind and I love to hear the questions he has.

Today was special and I need to remember to spend more one on one time with my children.  I think they will appreciate it!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Break Day 1

Please don't judge me for any of the information I am about to divulge and remember it's called Spring BREAK for a reason.

I took my kids to school today(does this make me a bad mom??) for a very short time, 10AM-3PM. I finished re-reading Insurgent, re-watched Divergent, and watched two episodes of Grey's Anatomy that I was behind on.

Although I laid in bed the majority of the day, I was a LITTLE productive. I ran a couple of errands, found some time for the treadmill, and baked my mom gluten free brownies.

Part of me feels guilty but a bigger part of me feels like this day of relaxation was very much needed and very well deserved!!

Happy Spring Break to me!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Comment HELP!

I am a 1st time slicer and one of my favorite parts about SOL is reading my comments. I love to read the encouragement, stories, and wise words of others. Although comments are my favorite part, I have to admit I'm not very good at leaving comments! It seems a little overwhelming to me and I don't really know where to start. There are so many slicers!!

What is your comment strategy? Do you even have one? Here are some of my questions...

-how many comments do you leave?
-do you continue to post on the same blogs or random blogs?
-how do you pick who you are going to leave a comment for?

Thank you for your tips and advice! 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Peaceful.....







We are capning for the weekend. I'm technically only 2.9 miles away from home but it feels like a much greater distance. I'm enjoying the peace and quiet......








Friday, March 13, 2015

Bedtime Stories

With a 5 year old and a 9 month old bedtime can get a little hectic at our house. We try to stick to a  routine to strategically get everyone in bed by 9:00.

No matter how crazy it is, bed time stories are a big deal. Sometimes Daddy is chosen to read and sometimes I am. I am always a little offended when my 5 year old does not pick me. After all, I am the reading teacher.

On the very rare night when our perfectly thought out and strategically planned routine ACTUALLY goes as planned, we all get to enjoy a bed time story together! These nights are my favorite!



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Positives!

Yesterday was a bad day. I was grumpy and unmotivated. Today I have felt so guilty about being so negative. I don't like to be negative and I especially don't like to be negative AND share it on a blog for the world to see!

Someone once told me,"For every negative thought, think of 3 positives." So here are my positives that I can take from my day yesterday.

1. I live 1 mile from my school. So even though I had to be here early, it was a 2 minute commute.
2. My husband and I are blessed with jobs so we can afford to go to the grocery store and buy the things that my family need and want.
3. The groceries are for a camping trip that I am taking with my precious family this weekend.

And to be extra positive....ONE MORE DAY UNTIL SPRING BREAK!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Grumpy and Unmotivated

Please tell me I'm not the only one that has these days. I started my school day at 7AM with before tutorials and ended it at 3:40 with after school tutorials. Then the oh so exciting trip to the grocery store. Believe it or not, I do have a "topics" list of things to write about but I'm very unmotivated tonight. I'd prefer to put on my sweat pants, curl up in bed, and reread Insurgent before the big screen premier on Friday.

Sorry to be negative. I promise I'll be back on my "A Game" tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

You Lead

We all lead someone; co-workers, a team, students, volunteers, a spouse, your children or even friends. You lead.  


I recently saw this on a friend's Facebook post and it really resonated with me. When I think of leaders I think of principals, curriculum people, people that lead meetings I attend,  reading experts like Donalyn Miller and the CAFE sisters, etc. I don't think of me. When I read this I thought about all of my students years past, and my own children. It's crazy to think that I AM a leader. Over the years, I've had hundreds of sets of eye watching me lead daily. That is a humbling thought and a very scary thought. It's scary to think about what an influence I can have on so many young people. It's really made me consider HOW I lead. This is something that should always be in the front of my mind because there are always eyes on me. Good quality leaders are hard to find. I hope I can be that to at least some of my students.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Words and Readers

A colleague, friend, and follow slicer recently wrote about the power of words in her SOL post,  "Sticks and Stones"

Another colleague, friend, and fellow slicer(who teaches 4th grade in Texas) often talks about her students  lack of words and the connection to struggling writers. If our students don't have a bountiful supply of words how are they able to write with effective word choice in a way that paints a picture for their reader??? 

All of this conversation has made me think about words and struggling readers. I have one student that comes to mind every time I think of this. The more I work with her the more apparent it. I really don't think fluency, rate, or comprehension are her problem. The root of her problem is, her lack of words. She gets stuck on a word and it's not that she can't decode it, she can. It's hard for her because it's an unfamiliar word. She has no background knowledge about the word.  Every time she gets stuck I ask, do you know what that word means? Have you ever heard it? More often than not, her answer is no. 

I know there is a connection between a child's lack of words and struggling readers and I know this is probably not new information for any of you. But, how do we help?? More time independently reading, more time read aloud to, more exposure to words?? 

What else??

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 1 Reflections....

I officially have one "Slice of Life"week under my belt! I was so hesitant to participate but it has been WAY easier than I imagined. I didn't realize how much I have to say! I'm less nervous than I was on day one and I feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts. 

My favorite part about this experience is reading the comments, especially from the random people that don't even know me. It makes me feel special that someone would take the time to read what I have to share. 

Thank you fellow "Slicers" for a wonderful first week experience. I'm looking forward to the rest of the month! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Daddy is Way Smarter Than I Thought!

There is a point in your life, probably around the teenage years, when you think your parents don't know ANYTHING! I think every child goes through this and I was no different. As I have gotten older, married, and had two children of my own I have realized my parents did know a little something. Recently, my Daddy took this to a whole new level.

My Daddy is a smart man. He can tell you anything you want to know about fixing cars, hunting, fishing, golfing, Cowboys football, and the list of manly endeavors goes on. If you asked me if he knew anything about the world of education, I would say NO WAY! He doesn't work in the field of education, he never went to college, and my sister and I have been out of school for a while. This WOULD have been by answer until a recent conversation him and I had about my niece. She is a 5th grader and learning has always been hard for her. She was complaining to my daddy about how school is hard and she is not the smartest kid. This is what my Daddy told her.

"Do you want to be the smartest kid in the class? Do you know how to become the smartest kid in your class? READ BOOKS! This is how you will become the smartest kid!" 

He told her to think about the smartest kids in her class(I know, as an educator, every child knows the "smartest" kids). She named a few and said that those kids loved to read and read often.

His point was made!

He was telling me about this conversation and I was a little shocked that I was listening to my daddy speak.  I started reflecting on my 3rd graders over the years. I typically don't like using the term "the smartest" kids.  But when I think about my experience not only are my voracious readers some of my "smartest" kids they are often my most engaged and curious learners as well.

I have always been a big believer in books, independent reading time, giving choice, and the power of reading. The benefits of reading are never ending and I KNOW this. There was just something about hearing it from my Daddy that stuck with me and made me reflect on the power of reading a little more.

Once again I realize, parents ALWAYS know what they are talking about!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Sisters on Reading Aloud

If you don't receive the "Tip of the Week" email from The Sisters, you should.



Today their tip was titled, The Power of the Read Aloud. I thought it was a great read and wanted to share it with other slicers. Enjoy!




Happy weekend!!!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Braveness Runs In The Family!

As you can tell from the name of my blog, this writing challenge has forced me to be brave and step out of my comfort zone. Each day it's getting easier and I am extremely proud of myself.


Apparently, I am not the only one in my family who is taking risks and being brave. Today we were blessed with a snow day. Often times in Texas that really means an ice day. Today we actually had snow and it was beautiful! A friend called and offered to take Tyler to the "Hawk Hill" to sled. This is a giant hill next to  my school. Tyler is typically shy and  cautious. This is a nice way of saying he is a scaredy cat and a chicken. He wants to see others go first(Wonder where he gets it?). I was shocked when he said he wanted to go. He went down the BIG hill. I couldn't believe it and I am so proud of him!

video


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

World Read Aloud Day



I think everyday should be WRAD. It's one of my favorite things to do with my kids. I love to watch their faces, hear their reactions, and listen to their thinking as I read aloud. So much good comes from reading aloud. We are currently reading, Because of Winn Dixie by Kate diCamillo. To kick off WRAD we watched this video of Kate diCamillo sharing some of her favorite read aloud memories and explaining the importance of reading aloud.

 Kate DiCamillo On Reading Aloud


What I remember most about elementary school is Mrs. Warlick, my 3rd grade teacher, reading aloud to us every day. It was such a special time for me as a learner. I want to provide that same experience for my students!



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Kinder Baby!

My oldest will be in KINDER next year. I cannot believe how fast the last 5 years have flown by. Today was his first "Mini Mav Camp". He visited the gym and the cafeteria. It was so special to see him here. It makes me so excited to know he will be with me EVERY day next year.






Monday, March 2, 2015

Dr. Seuss is a GIRL??

As most of you know, today is a day to celebrate the one and only Dr. Seuss. He is a writing genius that continues to touch hearts and inspire children and adults all around the world. My most memorable Dr. Seuss moment happened on my last day of college. It was during my reading class and my instructor read, Oh, The Places You'll Go! to our whole class. It's a memory I will never forget and it taught me the importance of books!! I loved the rhyme and crazy illustrations in the text but most of all I love the message.


I read this book every year to my 3rd graders and today I asked my kids their thoughts about the message of the story.....

"Never give up on your dreams, there are bad things that can happen in your life but you have to keep going, and always keep trying no matter what happens in your life" are just a few of their responses.

No matter how young or old, these are important things to remember!


After today, I may have a NEW most memorable Dr. Seuss moment.. Apparently, my (barley) 5 year old celebrated Dr. Seuss at his school as well. When I picked him up he looked like this.....

On our car ride home we had a discussion about Dr. Seuss and I explained that he was a famous author that wrote many children's book and I gave some examples. After a few moments Tyler said, "Dr. Seuss is a GIRL! I know because the real Dr. Seuss came to visit our school today and she was a girl" I started explaining the facts and then realized he was not giving up on his argument. I decided it was best to give up and focus on the big picture. 

My 5 year old is learning about books and authors and celebrating their importance. What more can I ask for?




Sunday, March 1, 2015

Me, Brave????

I'm not really a brave person. I have always been the person that needs to see others do it first. Today is no different.

I have been challenged to blog for the ENTIRE month of March, The Slice of Life Challenge. My first thought was, No. I don't have time and I don't know what to talk about. Luckily for me, some of my colleagues were willing to take a risk and jump right into the challenge. I saw others do it first and it made me feel more comfortable and not so alone. So, here I am with post #1. I am relying on my friends and the wise words of Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh....

"You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."